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Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 1/20/17

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of January 20th, 2017. We’re back in the swing of things as everyone hits the ground running in the new year. Here are some of the news highlights for the week.

There’s speculation that Sony Japan is tiring of the entertainment business and might now want to sell out. That means Sony Music and Sony/ATV publishing as well. Could the 3 major labels soon be down to 2?

It looks like Sirius XM is still interested in buying Pandora. But only at the right price. Pandora is in trouble, so that price is sure to be coming down to where Sirius likes it soon.

There are predictions that the US radio industry is going to change big time soon. Back to local and away from big station groups, as iHeartRadio is in big financial trouble that could start the change. This is a good thing.

The long term trends in radio don’t look good. Despite what you might read, fewer people are listening to radio, a figure that looks like it will only decrease. Is it because of the product (too many commercials) or the format? Could a big industry shakeup change the trend?

Norway shuts down its analog radio system. It’s trying to make a clean shift to digital. This is for national stations only though, as lots of independent analog stations will still stay on the air.

Facebook has decided to stop paying publishers for live videos. It seems like this was just a short term deal to establish the format and now it wants to put more emphasis on long-form videos instead. This is no-doubt because it will soon be inserting mid-roll ads after 20 seconds, so the longer the video, the better.

Apple is looking to produce TV content. Could this be Netflix/Amazon envy, or has it just lost confidence in the core product of Apple Music?

The hottest selling metal records of 2016 holds a surprise. Metallica holds 6 of the top 10 spots and is still selling physical product like crazy.

Music streaming now has more paying users than Netflix. Of course, Netflix is only one company, while the more than 100 million music streaming subscribers is across all the streaming networks world-wide.

10 virtual reality observations. Will it be the next big thing? It could be, but probably not in the way you think.

That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Have a great week ahead!

 

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 12/2/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of December 2nd, 2016. We’re still in Holiday Hangover so news is light again this week. The fact of the matter is that activity drops off substantially from Thanksgiving through about the 2nd week of January. There is some news to report though, so let’s get into it.

iHeartRadio is releasing its new music service. It’s pretty innovative in that it allows you to replay any song you hear from a radio station in the app. There’s also a Save button that allows you to save a song to a playlist to listen to latter. Just $4.99 per month.

Pandora hasn’t launched its interactive service yet, but it’s trying hard on the non-interactive side. The problem is, will anyone notice or care?

Soundcharts is a new service that measures music consumption across 2600 charts. This includes streaming services and radio stations across the world. The first month is free, but they have plans down to the artist level.

Music can make us sick. This is a paper on the surprising number of artists and musicians that suffer from depression or similar mental illness.

The impact of social media on the music industry looks at the obvious, but it’s still a worthwhile read. The problem is that it looks at exclusively on big names, when a little down market focus would have been nice.

Autonomous cars are coming, and the music industry should take notice. We’ll have a lot more time to concentrate on listening when we don’t have to worry about driving.

Artist’s are making a lot of money from Spotify plays, and this article shows you just how much. Go to the bottom and check out the list of the top 25.

Some public radio powerhouses have banded together to launch VuHaus. It’s a non-profit video streaming site filled with music performances. Seems like a great idea.

That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

September 30, 2016

Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 9/30/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of Sept 30th, 2016. There’s a wide range of topics this week that run the gamut from album sales to social networks to acquisitions to bankruptcy, so let’s get to it.

Adele gets her second Diamond album in the US. Her album 25 just went past the 10 million mark, making her only the third woman to do so. The other ones? You’ll never guess – Britney Spears and Celine Dion!

Drake makes history too. He’s the first artist with an album (Views) that reached 1 billion streams on Apple Music. Image what his totals are when you add the other streaming platforms in.

Spotify may be buying Soundcloud. The reasoning is that SC could make it easier for young artists to get on Spotify, but it seems like too much money (probably over $1 billion) for a service that has already peaked.

The music industry comes down hard on Youtube-mp3.org. It’s a website that allows people to rip the audio from YouTube videos into downloadable files. The site is based in Germany and makes money from advertising, but record labels all over the world have banded together to file a lawsuit to shut it down.

A bid for Twitter looks to be coming soon. The suitors for the social network are said to include Google and Salesforce.com, as well as other technology companies. Could this mean the eventual end of the platform?

Everyone’s angry at Facebook for overestimating video view time. The company’s been doing it for a couple of years, and taking advertisers to the cleaners in the meantime. Those figures always looked too good to be true.

Rdio’s bankruptcy is messy. Here’s what happens when a music streaming network goes belly-up. There’s a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth over money, which is no surprise.

Rolling Stone Magazine partially acquired by BandLab. Doesn’t make much sense on the surface, but Mark Mulligan’s always insightful blog sees the strategy in it, although he doesn’t think the pairing will last.

A Blockchain editor proves the technology won’t be savior of the music business. The tech behind Bitcoin defeats the purpose of how it works if it can be edited. Many companies have popped up recently with hopes of all music being coded with Blockchain, but none could gain industry traction. Their chances are much worse today.

Don’t look now, but Snapchat has some new hardware. The company is trying to go one-up on Google Glass with pair of sunglasses that can record short videos to upload to the platform. They look pretty cool, while Google Glass was just creepy.

Radio’s dying because it’s stuck in the past. It can’t seem to find a way to transition to mobile the way that the music and television industries have.

That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

September 23, 2016

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 9/23/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of Sept 23rd, 2016. Streaming in the news again, but what else is new. It at the heart of the music industry’s evolution right now

Will “flexible pricing” be in our streaming future? Don’t be surprised to see cheaper pricing tiers at all of the services, not that the barriers have been broken.

Universal and Sony are launching their own streaming service. It’s called NOW Music+, but if history tells us anything, these label collaborations never work out.

One of Spotify’s investors wants it to sell to Facebook. Not that Facebook wants it, but at least Spotify Daniel Ek and Facebook Mark Zuckerberg know each other.

Streaming revenue really grew in the first half of 2016. And this article says that Apple Music was responsible. Maybe so, but Spotify still has more than twice as many users.

Don’t look now, but iHeartRadio may launch it’s own streaming network. Seems like a death wish, since the company is so deep in debt. Could it be a Hail Mary play?

Tidal is in trouble because of subscriber churn. The minute an exclusive is over, the subscriber drops the service. Bad news for Jay-Z.

Does radio have to be live? Radio futurologist says no, and live can even be a hinderance to a station.

A third of all people under 25 now pay for music streaming. This according to the latest study from the IFPI. That’s up 40% over last year.

Frank Ocean is looking for a distribution deal. Apparently he’s a handful to work with, so even though he’s hot, negotiations are slow.

That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

iHeartRadio Needs $6 Billion To Pay Back Loans

iheartradioThe largest radio station ownership group is in big financial trouble. iHeartRadio, which owns over 850 terrestrial radio stations, is struggling as it’s projected to lose more than $80 million this year and has threatened bankruptcy. That has spooked the investors that loaned the company more than $6 billion, and now they want their money.

Actually, the company is more than $21 billion in debt, and it’s been that way for more than 8 years since it changed it’s name from Clear Channel. At that time, the company made a big push into Internet radio by aggregating programming from all of its terrestrial stations, although that seems like a moot point since from a music perspective it’s all pretty much the same.

Clear Channel has often been blamed for the demise of the healthy radio business as it scooped up stations across the country, laid off DJs and newsroom employees, and automated the stations with a homogenized brand of pop music and news designed to sell ads more than please listeners. In the process, local radio was decimated as most of the programming came from a central office in San Antonio.

The fact of the matter is that radio is currently in big trouble, and one of the reasons is because of station groups like iHeartRadio have squeezed the originality out of it. Listenership is dropping like a rock as people tune in to Spotify or Apple Music to be entertained instead, which will continue to increase as cars become more connected.

Take AM radio, for instance. Even during prime time (drive-time), it’s not uncommon to hear free public service announcements because the ad slot couldn’t be sold. FM fares a little better, but advertising rates have dropped in recent years, which is a prime reason why iHeartRadio is in trouble.

This is another case of greed in the entertainment business, where private equity investors take over an industry with the express intent of squeezing as much profit from it as possible. It’s actually nice to see that backfire for once, as iHeartRadio will undoubtedly be broken up and sold for pennies on the dollar if it enters bankruptcy, or the investors get their way in court. Sadly, that probably won’t change radio in the foreseeable future.

Virtual Reality Concerts To Begin This Summer

VR concertsI’m a big proponent of virtual reality, especially when the audio is done well, and many have predicted that the technology will eventually be a boon to concerts. We’re going to see soon enough as virtual reality concerts will actually begin to roll out this summer.

NextVR, which has been a leader in VR broadcasting of sporting events, has teamed up with LiveNation to broadcast a series of concerts, although no artists have been named as of yet. There will be a limited number of VR music events this summer, with a full schedule planned for 2017.

The NextVR broadcast will be available via Samsung’s Gear VR using the Oculus Home app, although they will also most likely be available on other VR platforms as well.

LiveNation/NextVR aren’t the only companies jumping into the concert broadcast game. iHeartRadio and Universal Music Group previously announced that they would also broadcast VR concerts this year.

Virtual reality concerts hold great promise because it gives the viewer a feeling of actually being there and watching from the best seat in the house, which many feel may eventually eclipse attending an event. Paying $200 for a nosebleed seat might not be a suitable option when you can get a better view from your home while still feeling immersed in the event.

The same can be said for sporting events as well, as NextVR recently signed a 5 year deal with Fox Sports, although there may be more technical challenges in this niche than with music as the best seat in the house may not apply, although it’s probably too soon to really tell. VR users will ultimately decide.

One thing’s for sure, VR is taking beginning to take off, even though it still hasn’t hit the general public yet, as more and more companies are jockeying for position.